Wednesday, April 19, 2017

More On 'Urbia'

 Take note of the April 17-30, 2017 New York magazine -  a thoughtful article on 'Cities Vs. Trump," by Urbanities essayist Justin Davidson saying "the urban-rural divide is more significant.'
More significant than what?
Read on to understand his point in a five-page personal survey of an ever-changing relationship between the two worlds.
Main point, I gather, is that cities are instigators of the sort of change to benefit so-called rural areas (often the suburban ones) but the demographics keep shifting.
There's much to ponder in a piece that would probably never have any traction on TV - too subtle and complicated, requiring a bit more concentration than the average newshound is willing to exert.

Jump ahead to the Washington Post ("Democracy Dies in Darkness") for Sunday and Monday June 14-15/201. About the 'gap' between small and big towns (ie. cities, however they are defined). Stats and surveys galore. Fuzzy talk about "different values." Emphasizing how the present political divide is more cultural than economic. The word Christianity is in the first graf - as though contemporary Christian values were uniform and understood. "Estrangement" in the urban areas? I've just experienced the opposite during a short stint in New York City, and even on my own inner (albeit blessedly popular) Washington, DC. black. Could it be that old bugaboos such as 'the stranger, the immigrant, the other' always is and has been the hard-to-define devil in our midst that can account for suspicions, resentment, the unknown...leading to distrust and despair. Where is the blessed ability to think for oneself, outside the box, with some perspective? A failure of educational systems, of clergy, of family?

A note about a wonderfully predictable homily regarding the urban milieu: how when the word 'hip' is applied to a city or area in a city (as in "hippest neighborhood") - I speak fondly - look out for further  embellishments that seemed designed mainly to encourage foundation support. As in "an ecosystem of advocacy that encourages socially engaged creatives to free experiment.." (see Halcyon and Halcyon Stage in D.C.  Gestures in behalf of experimentation - but how many of these are truly experimental, radical calls to action? it may be that today we have to settle for any efforts in that direction. Note, too, an academic title worthy of consideration: The Muse of Urban Dilirium"  - confronting the chaos of choices in  a vibrant (beware that word) scene. Spoils of a kind.